Your RA Coordinator (RAC) May Be The Problem

The Agency DRAD (Disability Reasonable Accommodation Division) and other RACs (Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators or Committees) for federal employees are responsible for ensuring that employees with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations to perform their job duties. Their job is generally, at least on paper, to work with employees and their supervisors to identify what accommodations … Read more

Failing to Accommodate Disabilities is Discrimination

The road to unlawful disability discrimination is paved with “good intentions.” Many federal agency lawyers (and therefore everyone else listening to them) mistakenly believe that discrimination requires in every case proof of discriminatory intent. That means if management denies any discriminatory intent, there is no discrimination (absent other evidence). That also means that if you … Read more

Five Myths that Federal Managers Believe about Reasonable Accommodations

Many federal agency managers come to the reasonable accommodation discussion armed with incorrect suppositions about the requirements of the law. They think accommodations are optional, or that if they make a good faith effort to accommodate, that is all that is required. These myths prevent many federal employees from getting the accommodations they need. Managers … Read more

Poor Excuses – Federal Agencies Do Not Understand the ‘Undue Hardship’ Defense

Most federal agencies have difficulty dealing with reasonable accommodations because, well, they just don’t understand it. Many managers, HR, and EEO personnel are familiar with the concept of discrimination—at least insofar as they can avoid a charge of discrimination by having (and documenting) a “legitimate, non-discriminatory reason” for their actions. But this does not apply … Read more

Fake Essential Functions

I speak with many federal employees whose management has recently added “essential functions” to their job descriptions solely to avoid providing reasonable accommodations. This can amount to discrimination if the Agency denies a reasonable accommodation because of a “fake” essential function. Frequently these arise in telework situations. I call them fake here because they don’t … Read more

How Management (illegally) Fudges Essential Functions to Avoid Accommodations

Too often federal employees call me with issues about getting what are otherwise very reasonable disability accommodations from their supervisors. The problem is that federal agency managers are normally trained to treat all employees the same. That works for many situations, but not for reasonable accommodations. Under the ADA, treating everyone the same can actually … Read more

Delays in Reasonable Accommodations

Many federal employees have difficulty obtaining reasonable accommodations from their federal employers because of unnecessary delays. Because the issue is in management’s hands, employees face particular difficulties getting even simple accommodations approved. But avoiding unnecessary delays can be critical to providing accommodations and avoiding charges of unlawful discrimination. Management often ignores issues One common problem … Read more

Disability Pain Must be Accommodated by Agencies

A frequently overlooked aspect of disability accommodations is pain. Many federal employees who have requested reasonable accommodation experience moderate or severe pain even after accommodation. Pain can be a significant issue in obtaining the right accommodation.  Pain is also invisible. Many individuals have no way of describing the pain they are experiencing adequately. Many employees … Read more

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